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in literature, fanciful or unusual image in which apparently dissimilar things are shown to have a relationship. The Elizabethan poets were fond of Petrarchan conceits, which were conventional comparisons, imitated from the love songs of Petrarch, in which the beloved was compared to a flower, a garden, or the like. The device was also used by the metaphysical poetsmetaphysical poets,
name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th cent. The term was first used by Samuel Johnson (1744). The hallmark of their poetry is the metaphysical conceit (a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images), a reliance on
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, who fashioned conceits that were witty, complex, intellectual, and often startling, e.g., John Donne's comparison of two souls with two bullets in "The Dissolution." Samuel Johnson disapproved of such strained metaphors, declaring that in the conceit "the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together." Such modern poets as Emily Dickinson and T. S. Eliot have used conceits.


(the lesser) boastful and insolent; drowns due to vanity. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 14]
Bunthorne, Reginald
fleshly poet; “aesthetically” enchants the ladies. [Br. Lit.: Patience]
Butler, Theodosius
thinks he is a wonderful person. [Br. Lit.: Sketches by Boz]
Collins, Mr.
pompous, self-satisfied clergyman who proposes to Elizabeth Bennet. [Br. Lit.: Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice]
Dalgetty, Rittmaster Dugald
self-aggrandizing, pedantic soldier-of-fortune. [Br. Lit.: Legend of Montrose]
Dedlock, Sir Leicester
contemplates his own greatness. [Br. Lit.: Bleak House]
Dogberry and Verges
ignorant and bloated constables. [Br. Lit.: Much Ado About Nothing]
Grosvenor, Archibald
idyllic poet of no imperfections. [Br. Lit.: Patience]
Henry VIII
inflated self-image parallels bloated body. [Br. Lit.: Henry VIII]
Homer, Little Jack
pats his back with “What a good boy am I!” [Nurs. Rhyme: Mother Goose, 90]
Keefe, Jack
baseball pitcher is a chronic braggart and self-excuser suffering from an exaggerated sense of importance. [Am. Lit.: Lardner You Know Me Al in Magill III, 1159]
self-important coxcomb full of hollow, ostentatious valor. [Br. Lit.: Henry V]
Olivia’s grave, self-important steward; “an affectioned ass.” [Br. Lit.: Twelfth Night]
Montespan, Marquis de
regards exile and wife’s concubinage as honor. [Br. Opera: The Duchess of la Valliere, Brewer Hand-book, 721]
flower of conceit. [Plant Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 170; Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 171–172]
symbol of vanity and pride. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 176]
scorpion stung him to death for his boasting. [Rom. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 971]
Prigio, Prince
too clever prince; arrogance renders him unpopular. [Children’s Lit.: Prince Prigio]
Slurk, Mr.
had a “consciousness of immeasurable superiority” over others. [Br. Lit.: Pickwick Papers]
Tappertit, Simon
boasted he could subdue women with eyes. [Br. Lit.: Barnaby Rudge]


Literary an elaborate image or far-fetched comparison, esp as used by the English Metaphysical poets
References in periodicals archive ?
The heavy, plotting in the last ten minutes and the unrelieved nihilism of the conceit left one bewildered.
One may also suspect an element of conceit in Billington's subtitle, with its claim to be a comparative study of Gaskell and Tolstoi, particularly as her introduction suggests Tolstoi as 'the great missing figure of the English Victorian period' (p.
And this is where anthropocentric conceit is dangerous.
Now what might those conceits of the Reformation be?
But irrespective of one's economic philosophy, blinkered conceit and ecological arrogance should not be part of the humanist philosophy.
With this conceit of hedonism in full play, Suren helps Jansson with the heavy lifting.
The Caribbean West Indian conceit that instilled in and was created by Bert Williams's blackface also found the same release in Lincoln Perry, without blackface via Stepin Fetchit.
If the conceit seems too precious to be true--particularly under the metaphoric umbrella of the loggerhead turtles, who abandon their eggs on the beach to fend for themselves--writer-director Tim Kirkman wants you to know that, in fact, it's all true.
Hayek, in his book The Fatal Conceit, makes the basic argument for capitalism and free markets, and against the "fatal conceit" of socialism's central planners.
Then again, that's a pretty apt physical description of bin Laden, and the conceit of an international terrorist as the ultimate dangerous dreamboat is, at the very least, an idea you don't run across every day.
In an age when the only air vehicles were ornate Montgolfier hot-air balloons, this conceit seemed merely witty.
Elliot gives the seafaring conceit an orgasmic crest as he writes, "Raptured in bed, we heard rain whine and hail / Dark, spectacular ejaculations .